I am frequently asked about DUI tips or how to avoid a DUI conviction. Frankly, there’s only one fool proof tactic: Don’t Drink and Drive! But, this answer doesn’t satisfy most people. If you’re going to have a drink or two and get behind the wheel, these are 9 tips for avoiding a DUI. Keep reading to learn how you can save yourself the trouble going to court, losing your license, or of having to hire a criminal or DUI lawyer.
Disclaimer: the following is for informational purposes only. Is is not legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.
How To Avoid A DUI Conviction
DUI Tips # 9. Keep you car in good condition and your headlights on
You can’t get a DUI if you don’t get pulled over. And you can’t get pulled over unless the police have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has occurred or is about to occur. This is the constitutional standard. Make sure your car is in good working condition (no broken tail lights, no leaks, no shattered windows, etc) and make sure your headlights are on. If they are, and you’re driving in a safe manner (no swerving and no speeding), then the police probably don’t have a “reasonable suspicion” to pull you over.
DUI Tips #8. Don’t pull a U-turn right before a check point
The police frequently set up checkpoints in areas where DUI violations are likely to occur. So what do you think is going to happen if they see you pull a U-turn 100 yards before the checkpoint? Legally, you’ve probably just given them a “reasonable suspicion” that you’re DWI.
DUI Tips #7. Mouthwash is not your friend
Mouthwash is designed to kill the germs in your mouth. How does it do that? In part, with alcohol. LISTERINE® is 21.6% alcohol. That’s about 25% more alcohol by volume than wine!!
Do you think rinsing your mouth out with a nice Chardonnay is a good strategy for avoiding a DUI? Here’s a hint: it’s not. This is because breath tests work by measuring the amount of alcohol on you breath.
Additionally, minty fresh breath is a dead give away to the the police that something’s up.
DUI Tips #6. Sleep in the back seat
This is a case of no good deed going unpunished. Say you’ve had a few too many drinks and you do the right thing by deciding against driving. Instead, opt to sleep it off in your car. You can still get charged with DUI if the police find you asleep in the driver’s seat with the keys in your pocket or near you. Although you weren’t planning on driving, it looks like you just passed out before you could get the car running, or fell asleep before you could get out.
Maybe you’d eventually get off, but why risk the hassle and possibly thousands in fees and attorney costs? Stash your keys in the glove box and sleep in the back seat. Make it clear to anyone that you had no intention of driving.
DUI Tips #5. Don’t be a jerk to the cops
If you get pulled over, don’t risk escalating the situation by being rude or a jerk to the police officer. Cops are humans too. If you’re nice and cooperative, maybe they’ll let you go without asking you to submit to a field sobriety. So always be nice if you’ve been pulled over. There’s no need to get a DWI because you were a jerk.
DUI Tips #4. What you say will be used against you
We’ll all watched enough TV to recognize this: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say could be used against you in a court of law.”
Since the vast majority of criminal defendants will not testify on their own behalf at trial, the only evidence that the jury will get is the arresting officer’s testimony, the police report, and results of the breathalyzer and/or blood test. A knee jerk reaction to getting pulled over is to plead with the office “I haven’t had anything to drink!”.
But if you had been drinking, the breathalyzer and/or blood test is going to show the jury that you’re a liar. And it’s going to prevent your DUI lawyer from presenting alternative theories to the jury. i.e. rising BAC. You may even be charged with obstruction of justice on top of DUI.
So don’t answer any questions about how much you’ve had to drink, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, etc. You have the right to remain silent. Use it.
DUI Tips # 3. Prior to arrest, refuse the field sobriety test and breath test
Let me be 100% clear here. I’m talking about before you get arrested. To understand this tip, we need to discuss the legal standard for arrest. To arrest you, the police need “probable cause” that a crime is being or has been committed.
If the officer thinks you are DWI, then he has to come up with “probable cause” to arrest you. How’s he going to do that? One way is by administering a field sobriety test. Since he determines if you pass or not, you’re not going to pass. And now he has “probable cause” to arrest you.
The same goes for a breath test before you get arrested. The officer is trying to find “probable cause”. If he already has it (e.g., you were swerving and reek of whiskey), then he’s going to arrest you whether you take the test or not.
But if he doesn’t have “probable cause” for DUI (i.e. you were pulled over for a broken tail light), the act of refusing the test in and of itself doesn’t give him “probable cause”. But remember, he’s allowed to observe everything – your appearance, smell of your breath, speech, temperament, etc – in determining whether there’s “probable cause” for an arrest.
Just as you have the right to remain silent, you have right to refuse a field sobriety test and breath test. But don’t forget about Tip #6: be polite and courteous when you refuse. And be firm. Don’t let the officer try to talk you into it.
DUI Tips # 2. Don’t refuse to take a breath or blood test after you’ve been arrested
Once you’ve been arrested, most states require you to take either a breath or blood test in order to have a chance at keeping your license. Whether breath or blood is more favorable to you is a tough call. The breath test will be administered more quickly and have a higher margin for error. But there’s no way for your DUI attorney to double-check the results. Blood tests are much more accurate, can be confirmed independently (two samples are taken), and are take longer to administer. Without knowing the exact specifics of your case beforehand, it’s impossible to say which kind of test is better for you.
DUI Tips #1. Hire a DUI lawyer
You’ve heard the old adage, “a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This is especially true for DUI or DWI arrests. Chances are that your blood alcohol level was actually over the legal limit. So, if you’re going to get off, it would need to be on a technicality. For that to happen, your best chances are with a DUI lawyer. I know, DUI lawyers aren’t cheap. But neither is getting fired because you lose your license and can’t drive to work.
Additionally, a DUI lawyer will also be able to help with your DMV hearings. Remember, when you get arrested for DUI, most states have a criminal proceeding and a related DMV proceeding. If you aren’t careful with your DMV case, you can still lose your license even if you win your criminal case. Learn more about why you need a DUI lawyer.
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